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(ISC)² Shares Vision and Ideas at Annual Town Hall Meeting

09/25/2013 -Curious about where (ISC)² is headed in the future? How is (ISC)² working with academia? What is the organization doing to build the next generation of cybersecurity professionals? What educational opportunities are available for continuing professional education credits? All of these questions and more were posed to a panel consisting of board members and management at the annual Town Hall Meeting on Monday evening here in Chicago.

Nearly 150 (ISC)² members, including several from Asia and Latin America, were in attendance. Some came by to find out more information about (ISC)²’s programs and plans for the future, while others had pointed questions, concerns, or suggestions to discuss with the organization’s decision-makers.

Following are some of the questions and subsequent answers by panelists at the Town Hall:

Q: What is (ISC)² doing to work with universities?

A: (ISC)²’s Chief Operating Officer David Shearer responded: “We’re making inroads with academia and our education department is reaching out to universities to build relationships. Also, the (ISC)² Foundation provides scholarships to university students pursuing a degree in information security.”

Q: Federal positions in information security often require (ISC)2 certifications. What distinguishes (ISC)2 from other certifying organizations that are prominent in this industry?

A: (ISC)²’s Director of Global Development Elise Yacobellis responded: “(ISC)²’s core focus is on IT security, whereas other certifying organizations offer credentials for auditing, IT, and other disciplines. Our certifications are included on the DoD Matrix 8570.1 Mandate and are accredited by ANSI (some other industry certifications meet this criteria as well). We’ve developed our own examinations since 1994, and have always followed rigorous standards for exam development and updates. We’re serious about our continuing education program and members earning quality CPEs. As an organization, we work with ISO standards organizations, DHS, and other international governments. Our experience requirements are another differentiating factor. (ISC)² does not allow waivers for experience requirements.”

Q: What is the rate of membership retention for (ISC)²?

A: (ISC)2’s Executive Director Hord Tipton responded: “The member retention rate is approximately 98 percent. The members we lose are typically due to a failure to earn enough continuing professional education credits (CPEs) during the recertification process every three years. I think the main reason why we keep members is because our certifications are in high demand and once they earn the certification, they don’t want to take the exam all over again.”

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve experienced as a member of the Board?

A: (ISC)2 Board member Dave Lewis responded: “One of the biggest challenges we have is communicating back out to the membership. Make sure you haven’t opted out from receiving emails from (ISC)². I had opted out of receiving emails from (ISC)2 in the past and I missed out on knowing about events in my area, the Foundation, and other programs. Make sure you know what you’re getting out of the (ISC)² membership you’ve already invested in.”

(ISC)² Board Chair Freddy Tan also added: “You can help us by getting involved. (ISC)² is based on volunteers. We wouldn’t exist today without them. The value of (ISC)’s credentials comes from professionals like you who have the knowledge, skills, and willingness to help us develop the exam content. The success of an organization relies on its membership. We need to network and share more. Each and every one of you can do a lot to not only help (ISC)2, but also to help society have a better, safer experience online.”

The Town Hall also provided an opportunity for members to learn how they can give back to their communities and help foster the next generation of security professionals through programs offered through the (ISC)2 Foundation - Safe and Secure Online, scholarships, and research. Donations to the nonprofit (ISC)² Foundation were collected at Town Hall from those going over the 2-minute time limit per question. A total of $1,000 was raised to support the foundation, with $500 in donations collected at the event, plus a $500 matching donation.

Next year’s annual (ISC)² Town Hall meeting will take place in conjunction with the fourth annual (ISC)² Security Congress/ASIS 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.